It snowed on and off all weekend, like winter had finally remembered itself.
The snow around here is dry and light and fluffy and, well, southwestern; the kind of snow you can brush off your stairs as if you were just doing a little outdoor dusting (if, of course, you were the kind of person who actually did any dusting). And then, coming back inside (only to have the snow immediately and cartoonishly fill in all your work), your husband mentions that you look nice, in that bathrobe, and you search his face for signs of irony, but he means it, which seems like a sign of something. Like perhaps, the marital hotness bar has dropped a little low.
For moments, being outside is like standing in your own personal snow globe; the snow goes squinch squinch squinch under your feet and it’s like every cliché you can think of: blinding; dazzling; blowing like a mofo on my neck. But mostly it’s the most gorgeous thing in the universe. Like winter finally started going to its 12-step meeting, getting on board with asserting its true life purpose. Like nature is winning.
And what does that have to do with latkes? The part about life purpose, obviously.
It can start here.
Or even here.
Boy are we excited about latkes lately. Partially on account of the 50#’s of potatoes in our root cellar; also because the toppings are so endless and customizable; and because they’re a fantastic vehicle for nutrient delivery (chard, winter squash) threaded discreetly through the potatoes. Col asked nervously though politely, as I was making the carrot cake he requested for his birthday, “Mama? Are you putting squash in the cake?” Poor kid. I wasn’t, but might, if I thought I could get away with it.
Dan is completely in charge of making latkes, because we both know I’m likely to make some faux, neurotic baked version, which no one would like, including me.
* wait, were you actually wondering what a latke is? It’s a traditional Hanukkah meal, pronounced “lat-kah,” and more commonly known as a potato pancake.
~makes a meal for a family of 4 ~
4 cups grated potato and/or winter squash (butternut or any dry-fleshed squash works great)
1/4 cut finely chopped onion
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
coconut oil, for frying (the case for coconut oil)
Let potatoes sit in colander, or squeeze in cheesecloth so liquid drains out. Mix all ingredients. Heat oil, about 2 TBSP, in a cast iron or stainless steel pan (no one’s using teflon anymore, right? Right?). Drop a large dollop of batter onto the hot oil. Fry for 2-4 minutes and flip, frying on the other side for slightly less time. Add more oil as needed. The latkes should be golden brown. Keep them warm in a preheated oven on top of paper towels inside a casserole dish until ready to serve.
Purple potatoes and butternut squash.
The traditional toppings are applesauce and sour cream, but our favorites are:
*yogurt (my kids would mug you for your sour cream, but I make several quarts of yogurt every week, so basically mums the word on sour cream even existing. Easy recipe for yogurt here)
*chopped fresh chives or parsley
*maple syrup (I personally think this is blasphemy, but Dan cites his Canadian heritage and I respectfully grit my teeth as the kids accidentally spill enormous pools of syrup on their latkes).
A large salad seems to balance out the richness of the latkes.
No reason to wait for Hanukkah, is what I’m trying to say.